Calumet Theatre begins elevator campaign efforts

By Kurt Hauglie

CALUMET – The members of the Calumet Theatre board of directors would like to install an elevator from the first floor to the ballroom on the second floor, and June 1, the effort to raise money for the project began.

Laura Miller, Calumet Theatre executive director, said 82 people attended the theatre’s annual gala event in the ballroom, which was a good turnout.

“It was up,” she said. “The last two years we only had about 60.”

Although there was no theme for this year’s gala, Miller said Jeremiah Mason, Keweenaw National Historical Park archivist, spoke.

“He did a presentation on the theatre’s early history,” she said.

Miller said Mason had historical photographs and letters from Calumet residents written at the time the theatre was proposed.

“There were a lot of people who didn’t want a theatre,” she said.

Miller said there was a silent auction and a live auction during the gala. For the silent auction, guests were asked to bring in items to be offered. Both auctions brought in a total of about $5,000, and the total for the gala was about $8,000.

“This was the kick-start for the elevator campaign,” she said.

All money raised by the gala will be used for the project to install the elevator, Miller said. The plan is to put it where a restroom is currently located on the first floor next to the village council chamber. An engineering study has to be done first.

“I suppose we won’t have any information on that until the fall,” she said.

It’s hoped the elevator will have a historic look to it, Miller said, so it will reflect the early 20th century design of the building, which opened in 1900. The village hall adjoining it was added later.

People who donate $100 or more will receive a button with the Lift Us Up Elevator Project logo, Miller said.

Miller said the elevator is needed because many of the theatre’s patrons have difficulty or are unable to take the stairs to the ballroom.

In 2006 and 2007, Miller said the theatre’s board conducted a fundraising campaign to replace the stage curtains, which included placing donation envelopes in theatre programs.

“That worked very well for the curtain fundraising,” she said.

Miller said $27,000 was raised for the curtains, and the donation envelopes may be used for the elevator campaign, also.

The theatre’s annual Grand Raffle starts July 1, and Miller said a portion of what is raised from that will go to the elevator project.

To donate for the Calumet Theatre’s elevator project, send money to P.O. Box 167 Calumet, MI 49913, or to donate by credit card, call the theatre at 337-2166.